Autumn is here. There is less than two weeks remaining in the 2010 Major League Baseball season.
The time is right to consider which player will be the 2010 AL “Rolaids Relief Man Award.”
There are a number of candidates for the award. But, first things first. What is the definition of the Rolaids Relief Man Award?
According to the Rolaids Relief Man Award site, the award is “a tribute the door slammers, the rally wreckers, the firemen, the relief pitchers.” In addition, “For over three decades the Rolaids Relief Man Award has been presented to the best reliever in both the American League and the National League.”
As of September 23, 2010, Rafael Soriano is in the lead for the Award with 125 points. The Award site states “The Rolaids Relief Man Award® is based objectively on statistical performance, rather than subjective opinion. A reliever is given 2 points for a win, 3 points for a save and -2 points for a loss.”
While Soriano may win the Award, it is this writer’s opinion that the Award should go to the current runner up in the standings, Joakim Soria of the Kansas City Royals.
Soriano pitches for the Tampa Bay Rays, currently in second place in the AL East division. He pitches on a contender. Currently, the Royals are fourth in the standings in the five team AL Central division, with a 62-89 won-loss record, resulting in a .411 winning percentage. Tampa Bay has a 90-61 won-loss record, for a .596 winning percentage. In short, Soriano toils for a much better team, and has a much better chance of getting a save in a save situation than does Soria.
According to ESPN.com’s Closer Report, Soriano leads all AL closers in saves with 43, followed by Soria with 40. Soriano has “blown” (lost the lead or the game) three times, resulting in a 93.5 successful save percentage. Soria has blown two saves, resulting in a 95.2 save percentage.
Soriano has been involved in 51% of his team’s wins, including winning three games (46 divided by 90). Soriano has also lost two games Soria, whose has a 1-2 won lost record, has been involved in 66% of his team’s wins.
Soriano has appeared in 61 games, pitched 59.1 innings, and has an earned run average (ERA) of 1.82. Soria has appeared in 62 games, pitched 61.2 innings, and has an ERA of 1.61, which is .21 better than Soriano.
Soriano does have an excellent batting average against (what batters are hitting against him) at .166. Soria’s batting average against is .214. So, in this category, hitters are batting .48 points higher against Soria than Soriano.
Still, not taking anything away from Soriano, who is having an outstanding year and will probably be reliving in the playoffs, I believe that Soria is more important to his team than Soriano.
Rolaids Relief Man Award Background:
Major League Baseball standings as of September 23, 2010:
ESPN.com Closer Report: